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Friday April 18th 2014

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#5 Sandy Sansing

Long ago, Sandy Sansing and partner Wallace Yost upstarted Digital Systems of Florida, offering a turn-key system of mini-computers. Pensacola’s own version of Jobs and Wozniak.

The local tech partners eventually sold their company, with Sansing beginning a journey that would see him crowned as the king of car city. Today, he owns numerous dealerships and sits as the chairman of the Greater Pensacola Area Chamber of Commerce.

“Powerful, I’m not. I don’t want to be powerful,” Sansing said modestly. “If I’m an influence, I want to be a positive one.”

The auto mogul recognizes he has attained a certain position in Pensacola. He said he attempts to use whatever influence or power his position affords to better the local community. Specifically, Sansing focuses on the area’s youth.

“My passion is helping children,” he explained. “Children can’t help themselves.”

To that end, Sansing sponsors 55 local little league baseball teams. That makes sense, considering what an impact the game had on him as a youth—he cites coach Bill Bond as being an early mentor.

“Bill Bond taught us we’re part of a team, always look out for each other,” Sansing recalled, adding that the coach also instilled other values— “being on time” … “look sharp” … “hustle.”

In addition to Bond, Sansing points to his father as being a major influence.

“My daddy, one of his favorite sayings was, ‘Son, always do your best,’” he said. “Whether that be with the talents or the treasure we’ve been given, always do your best.”

These days, Sansing finds himself imparting words of wisdom to younger members of the community. He said he encourages them to chase their dreams without fear of failing.

“Part of being older is you’ve done a few things right, but we’ve all done a lot of things wrong, we’ve all made mistakes,” Sansing said. “Don’t be afraid of failure, the only way to fail is to never do anything—find your passion and go for it.”

Not long ago, a young man approached Sansing. He wanted to spend some time with the community leader, wanted to learn from him.

The two men began meeting regularly for breakfast. Sansing shared what he could and enjoyed the fellowship. He considered himself both teacher and student.

“I’ve learned more from him than he’s learned from me,” Sansing revealed. “He’s been a wonderful role model for me.”

Back To The 2013 IN Power List